Special air quality statements issued as wildfire smoke blows across Alberta
Wildfire smoke continued to billow across Alberta on Monday, creating foggy conditions and high pollution levels in communities across the province.
On Monday, Environment Canada issued special air quality statements for various communities across the province, including Edmonton, where smoke is expected to thicken throughout the day.
Special Air Quality Statements are issued when the Air Quality Health Index is expected to reach or has reached the high risk category for one to two hours.
The agency says smoke from wildfires near Lake Athabasca in the northeast corner of Alberta and Reindeer Lake on the border between northeast Saskatchewan and northwest Manitoba , contributes to poor air quality in Alberta.
Another fire south of the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefield is bringing thick smoke across the Saskatchewan River crossing in Banff National Park and parts of the foothills, Environment Canada said in a forecast Monday.
“Some areas near the fires may see lingering smoke for the next few days,” Environment Canada said in a notice.
“Air quality and visibility from wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary significantly from hour to hour.”
By 10 a.m. Monday morning, air quality readings had been issued for the following communities:
- Bonnyville – St. Paul – Cold Lake – Lac La Biche
- Brooks – Strathmore – Vulcan
- City of Edmonton – St. Albert – Sherwood Park
- Fort Chipewyan – Wood Buffalo National Park
- Fort McMurray – Fort McKay
- Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville-Redwater-Smoky Lake
- Leduc – Camrose – Wetaskiwin – Tofield
- Lloydminster – Wainwright – Vermilion – Provost
Albertans in affected communities are urged to reduce their exposure to smoke, as smoke from wildfires is an “ever-changing” mixture of particles and gases, including chemicals that can harm a person’s health. person, said Environment Canada.
Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath, the agency warned. Children, the elderly and people with cardiovascular or pulmonary diseases, such as asthma, are particularly at risk.
Albertans in smoke-affected areas are urged to check the local Air Quality Health Index regularly for the latest air pollution forecasts.
As of Monday morning, Edmonton had a low risk rating for air pollution, but conditions are expected to worsen to a high risk rating of 7 later in the day.
When the Air Quality Index exceeds 7, Environment Canada suggests reducing or postponing strenuous outdoor activities, especially for children and the elderly or those with a cough or sore throat.
According to the province’s wildfire map, 55 wildfires are burning in Alberta: 21 under control, 31 in control and three out of control.
The smoky conditions come after days of high temperatures in Alberta.
As of Monday morning, heat warnings remained in place for the Brooks, Hanna and a handful of surrounding communities.